Alexa controls Blinds and Window Openers with BroadLink hub

Alexa™ + Node-RED + BroadLink™: A Flow Example for Controlling Blinds

Adrian Biffen, Senior Partner

Please Note: This series covering Alexa™ assumes you have set up your BroadLink hub with the phone app (see home theater phone app article series), and you are running Node-RED IoT visual design on the Raspberry Pi.

The previous Part 4 of this series discussed how the BroadLink™ RF-IR hub (and Alexa™) can be configured to work with the Node-RED system to control lights.

In this article (Part 5), we'll create a new flow that will enable an Alexa™ node and the BroadLink RM Pro node to control a motorized blind. This type of action requires 3 states (OPEN/CLOSE/STOP).

Drag 'n Drop Your Nodes For Alexa™ Blind Control Onto the Workspace

The picture below is very similar to the setup in the previous article where we switched lights on and off. We use the same ON/OFF capability for OPEN/CLOSE action, but we have added the 3rd item called MOTORS for the STOP command. It requires a separate Alexa™ node, and we have named this as MOTORS because Alexa Nodes require separate unique names.

Node-RED blind control with Alexa

We could have used a DIM command as the STOP function, but ultimately we decided it would be easier to say Alexa, motors off.

In the picture below, we have added 3 INJECT nodes from the INPUT section of the palette. This gives us a method of testing the BroadLink™ hub commands, without using Alexa™ voice control. The INJECT node has a button on the left side that you can click to activate the related command; the parameters of the INJECT node are set as boolean TRUE or FALSE, producing the same triggers in the payload that Alexa™ sends.

Node-RED blind control with Alexa, button control added

Blind Control Is DONE!

So once again, that's about it, the system will control the blinds at this point. You should be able to issue commands to Alexa:

Alexa, OPEN the blinds

Alexa, CLOSE the blinds

or

Alexa, turn OFF motors

If you want to take it further with OPEN/CLOSE/STOP commands, you would have to set up an Amazon account and create a SKILL to do that, using a different Alexa node that is made for that purpose.

We are currently working with BroadLink™ on a SKILL that will work directly with the phone app, so you would not need an RPi or Node-RED for voice control of blinds and other devices. Nevertheless, there are definite advantages to using the Node-RED system!

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Buy The BroadLink™ Hub and Accessory Modules In Our Online Store

In the meantime, we have the excellent BroadLink phone apps that are very capable, and they may very well be all you need (they work stand-alone, the RPi is not needed). This will give you direct control over our blind motors and window openers. Please note that you will need to set up the phone app if you want to implement the system described in this series.

If you are interested, you can purchase these products in our DIY online automation store.

Articles in this series:

Part 1: Alexa™ + RPi + BroadLink™ Hub + Node-RED: Blind Control Introduction

Part 2: Alexa™ + RPi + BroadLink™ Hub + Node-RED: Installing Node Components into Node-RED

Part 3: Alexa™ + RPi + BroadLink™ Hub + Node-RED: Configuring Nodes in Node-RED

Part 4: Alexa™ + RPi + BroadLink Hub + Node-RED: A Simple Flow Example: Light Control

Part 5: Alexa™ + RPi + BroadLink Hub + Node-RED: Control Blind & Shade Motors (you are here)

Part 6: Alexa™ + RPi + BroadLink Hub + Node-RED: Configuring the Node-RED Dashboard Light Switch

Part 7: Alexa™ + RPi + BroadLink Hub + Node-RED: Configuring the Dashboard Blackout Blinds